Arches are one of the main characteristic elements of Armenian architecture. Arches were largely used in medieval church architecture as a main structural and constructional element, and arch topped niches started to appear first as a tectonic element in centric-domed churches.
In the early 20th century, Alexander Tamanyan borrowed arches from medieval church architecture and used it as a decorative façade element in his newly synthesized Armenian secular and city architecture. Thereafter, Armenian architects have ubiquitously used arches, whether as a tectonic or decorative element. Since the 1960s, with the advent of modernist beliefs, aesthetic and structural principles, arches obtained wider interpretations. They were executed in concrete and covered with stone panels (veneer). And since concrete permitted freer structural plasticity, at times arches acquired new geometric interpretations.
As decorative elements, arches were used as free-standing monument-type elements, sometimes to accentuate the entrance block of a building. By the late 1970s and the 1980s, while arches resumed their façade decoration function, they maintained their modernistic laconic aspect and aimed to function structurally, rather than in their purely decorative role in façade compositions.